Professor of Media and Communications
Lilie Chouliaraki BA School of Philosophy, University of Athens; MA and PhD Dept of Linguistics, Lancaster University.
I joined the LSE in 2007 as Chair in Media and Communications. I am Director of the Department's PhD Programme.
My main interest is in media ethics, broadly understood as the moral implications of mediated communication in contemporary public life. I have published extensively on the nature of mediated public discourse, particularly on the link between mediation, social action and cosmopolitan citizenship.
My main research focus lies in the mediation of human vulnerability, and I have spent the past ten years exploring three key domains within which human vulnerability appears as a problem of communication: disaster news, humanitarianism and war. In my work on the mediation of disaster news, I have shown the ways in which Western national and trans-national television networks follow hierachical patterns in their narrative organisation of news on distant suffering and, hence, in the systematic distribution of ethical sensibilities towards distant others. In so doing, I conclude, they reproduce global hierarchies of place and human life, along a West/non-West axis (The Spectatorship of Suffering, Sage 2006/2011). In more recent work, on the mediation of solidarity, I explored how the humanitarian imperative has changed in the course of the past fifty years. Looking into NGO appeals, rock concerts, celebrity advocacy and post-television disaster news, I demonstrated how major institutional (the commercialisation of the aid and development field), technological (the rise of new media) and political (the fall of grand narratives) transformations have also changed the moral imperative to act on distant others who need our support. As a consequence, I argued, solidarity has today become not about conviction but choice, not vision but lifestyle, not others but ourselves - turning us into the ironic spectators of other people's suffering (The Ironic Spectator. Solidarity in the Age of Post-humanitarianism, Polity, 2012). My current work focuses on the mediation of war, where I explore the various public genres through which war has been mundanely communicated in our culture, from photojournalism to films and from memoirs to news. The aim is to better understand how our collective imagination of the battlefield and its sufferings, what we may call our 'war imaginary', has been shaping the moral tissue of public life, in the course of the past century (1914-2012).
I am Director of the PhD Programme in Media and Communications, leading the compulsory seminars for our research students (MC500). Our programme has some 35 students registered and has a target of an annual intake of 6 new students each year.
I also co-teach the Critical Studies in Media and Journalism (MC422) optional course, with Polis Director Charlie Beckett, and contribute lectures to selected courses for the MSc Programmes offered by the Department. I supervise PhD students at the LSE. Their topics include the mediation of fundamentalism in conservative political rhetoric in USA; the European public debate on Islam; the mediation of death in news channels; the organisational dynamics of Al Jazeera English. Applicants with backgrounds in social science disciplines including media studies, communication and discourse studies, political science and sociology are encouraged to apply.
External and Internal Commitments
I am Honorary Professor at the Copenhagen Business School. I was Professor of Media and Discourse Studies at CBS until July 2007, where I directed the CBS Media Hub, and the international network for the Ethics of Mediation, MediaDemos. I am currently part of the International Advisory Board of the 'Responsible Business' research network based at Copenhagen Business School (2009-12).
I am also Peer Reviewer on the Qatar National Research Foundation and of the AHRC Peer Review College. Finally, I am visiting Professor at CELSA-Sorbonne, Paris, Michaelmas Term 2011.
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